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I don’t have much money to spare, but I’m thinking of getting a camera.

The thing is: Should I buy an average digital camera for Rs 15-20K or should I buy a normal camera that costs as much, but will probably give me better quality pictures?

Anyone with advise on what’s the best deal I can get for my limited budget?


  1. Digital camera is Cool ,but people still like to handle the picture rather then see it on comp ,so If You are in position to take prints of digital pics Go ahead get Digital camera Canon is My Brand …

    If You are Serious Photographer SLR is goo thing to buy ,but After I bought my digital camera I have hardly used SLR (bulky carrying lenses),airport security blah blah

    anyways need any help drop me email … more than happy to help

  2. £200 is the magic price point in the digital market. Your budget is around £250 – and if I was going to spend this much on digital I would look very closely at the Sony DSC P-72 or the Canon Powershot A70, or G5 – or even might stretch to the new A80 which is just above your budget.

    (The thing to remember with digital is that you need to factor in the cost of batteries/rechargeables too – which if you haven’t got already – you may need to purchase as well)

    The good thing about digital is no extra cost for film – and your output is ready to be used in Photoshop.

    However: the downside with digital is not really about the quality I don’t think – because in your price range you are looking at at least 3 megapixel – which is fine for web use and for printing on photo paper at normal sizes (which you also have to pay extra for.) – the downside of digital in my view is the following:

    Digital cameras are not “instant-on” – so after you’ve fumbled around taking it out of the protective faux leather case – and then switched the “on” button – and then waited for it to bootup – and then selected the type of mode you want to shoot in (which may be several menu-selections deep) it may be quite a few seconds – by which time the action may have gone!

    So – if you are an “action” shooter – or don’t want to spend time waiting for a picture to be taken – then you might find digital off-putting.

    I, personally, use a crap sub-megapixel (4 year old) digital for random pics for screen-only use at very small sizes – like the ones you see in my blog every now and then.

    However, for my “quality” pictures instead of using a >3Megapixel camera liek the ones I mentioned above (which *will* take good quality pics) – I use a “crap”, cheap 35mm film camera – why? Because it’s instant-on – and I can just throw it into my pocket which will get knocked about – and I really don’t mind if it gets damaged or broken or stolen etc. The film camera I use is a Lomo LC-A – you can read all about my Lomo at: http://www.jag.me.uk/misc/lomo/ – and you can see some of my lomo pics at http://www.etongrove.com – but Lomo is really hyped up product – I paid 150 Euro for it – when it is probably only worth less than 30 Euro – so if I had to offer any advice on Lomo: buy it second-hand – it should be easy to pick up at second-hand camera shops – as Russia and ex-Soviet countries are full of Lomo. I love my Lomo! However – do bear in mind the cost of 35mm film – and the cost of processing – and the cost of the scanning equipment on top (if you don;t already have it). Also – scanning from prints is not as good as scanning from film – which is what I do. Why? because the shop that develops your prints applies all sorts of “correction” to try to make the pictures come out good – when they might not come out to your taste.

    Anyway – I have run out of time – must go – bye.

  3. Ask yourself, What you will do with your pictures?

    I personally think, the “hard copy photo album” days are over. People prefer putting pictures online. If this is true in your case, go for digital. If you do want to primarily use prints, go for film camera.

    True, film cameras take better pictures than compareable digital cameras. But can you or your friends tell the difference? And if you are going to scan your prints for online display/transport, you are going to anyways compromise heavily on quality! 3Megapixel digicams give excellent results.

    If you are starting to learn photography, digital is best for instant results and long term cost savings. If you want to take photography seriously and graduate to serious photography, get a SLR camera.

    Whatever you do, dont get a non-SLR film camera. Then you miss out on the best of both worlds. Cost may be a (helpful) deciding factor in choosing between a automatic digital and a film SLR.

  4. Hokay… I’m an amateur photographer myself, and just bought a digital camera for my folks and one for me. So I know what I’m talking about.

    If you’re a pro-wannabe with digital-SLR ambitions, you need to ramp up the budget.

    If not, shut your eyes and buy the Canon Powershot A70. Its got every feature you’ll possibly need, has great optics, is very user friendly, looks cool, and is bang in the middle of your budget, leaving you with enough left over to stock up on accessories. Its even available in India, legally, and within budget. Advice: buy an extra set of batteries and a large CF card (256MB min).

    And do let me know what you finally buy.

  5. Btw, if you do decide to go the film-SLR route, be prepared to spend as much as you did on the camera on more lenses, etc. And ofcourse, quite a bit on film as well.

  6. no need to think much to decide on the type. Get Digital. Gives u the both the hardcopy and the possibility to archive. Don’t fall for Digital Zoom at all.. its a mkting gimmick Check for highest OPTICAL zoom u can get in the desired amt

    #2 Prefer a inbuilt flash

    #3 Battery life is very VERY imp. Get a seperate charging unite along with a seperate high capacity battery

    #4 Storage media too is imp and get an additional memory card pref between 64-256 mb (the higher the MP the larger the file size u wil get)

    #5 And don’t forget the MP specs i.e. megapixel geta 2+ for good 6×4 print quality.

    #6 Choice of brands – Sony and Canon

    p.s. u have SLR cum digital too in the mkt.. check them too for info sake!

  7. My kind of subject 🙂

    A digi is for:

    1. fun, time pass photography

    2. learner who does not really want to go far up the ladder

    3. economics. You pay more at the beginning but. So it depends on how much would you shoot

    4. portablity of pictures. Just shoot an email or upload to your webpage.

    5. Studying compositions by experimenting. You must be super rich to do this in filmcam. I tend do test compositions on a digi and then shoot on film SLR! 🙂

    6. Ease of operations

    7. For shooting stuff that your studio guy would not want to see!

    8. If you want to furiously go online with the pics. Getting scans from film compares well with horror stories.

    9. People photograhy(portrait photography).

    A film SLR for:

    1. Dead serious photography. If you want to match pros sometime in life

    2. Dead serious learning. You can only start with a digi but to get real hang of exposures, film SLR is the way.

    3, 4, 5. Quality, quality, quality . The worst on film is better than the best on digi. They are getting better, but you’ll have to wait.

    6. Cost: cost of camera body. Costs only 25% of digi equivalent.

    7. Planning to do any publishing in print? A digi may not scale.

    8. If you want to circulate prints for people who are still living in the past.

    9. Guarantee against getting obsolete. Film SLR cameras have saturated. All improvements happen only with lenses. So you can just get the new lens keeping the same old cam. Digital? Next year you’ll see a new cam twice better at half price.

    For me, a film SLR is a natural choice over digi. A digi serves me only as a second fiddle.

    If you are buying digi:

    Canon is good at the SLR space but I dunno at the lower end. They say Canon and Fuji are better than Nikon in general. Better to go for something that is 4 megapixel and more. At least you can get 12×8 prints on that.

    film SLR:

    The cheapest, feature rich and pretty good prosumer SLR is Canon EOS 300. Should cost exactly in your budget(15 to 20K in India, $220-250 in US). It was a rage when it was launched(3-4 yrs back) and still is. As you go up Nikon rules the markets. But low end Nikon SLRs(N55, N65) are nothing great and lack features. Best basic Nikon is N75 which has almost same feature list as EOS300 and costs like $350.


    1. I shall be at your service for any queries.

    2. photo.net may help to some extent.

  8. i’m going to get a digital today hopefully, you can usually find good deals if you keep a watch out, this one is $200.00 (i hate to say it, but for once in my life i actually said “two hundred dollars is CHEAP”)

    if you have a scanner, go ahead and get a reg camera, but with digitals, you can forgo the scanner (which is great for me, cause mine just broke 😉 )

    and don’t forget to research, read reviews, etc, sometimes the cheapo cams have some major shortcomings. 🙂 good luck!

  9. Go digi. Have fun, and do the stuff that you dont want the studio guy to see.

    You will regret if you buy a film thing. You will not regret if you buy a good digi thing. trust me, without going into round and round arguments, tho some of the guys above have made really good points. Just one thing, don’t get too blown by the “pro-quality” shooting with SLr bit. It’s like aiming for the star and he moon and the sky. Most will never get thr, unless ur a great hobby-ist. Like learning the guitar, or mebbe tougher. everyone would like to do it, but very few do.

  10. I’ve got a Canon Powershot S40. It’s 4 megapixels and I’ve got great results with it. It fits into my pocket and for me that is a big advantage since whenever I think of taking a picture my camera is always around.

    Don’t go below a 3.2 megapixel.

    However, if I bought one today, I’d buy one even smaller. Something like the Minolta Dimage Xt, the Sony DSCP32 or the Canon Powershot S230.

  11. You have to remember that traditional film cameras have a three part tariff scheme. You pay money for the camera, the film and the processing. You have to add up the three costs while comparing it with a digital camera. In other words, do not compare the costs of the two camera types alone. In the long run, imho, Digital cameras are cheaper.

  12. Hey,

    Simple and sweet, after these long (though useful) comments: go for a film camera. Much better control and also hard copy snaps great feeling than watchin them on screen. U can always scan them later ;). Have fun!!

  13. Mahesh: I wouldn’t call myself a serious photographer, but I would like to pick some basics. I have been thinking of taking up a short time course to brush up on the fundamentals.

    Thanks Jag! That is a lot of information 🙂

    Shyamal: Thanks for the advice. I like the pictures you take. I’d like to put up my pictures online. But I still have a soft corner for actual hard copy photographs 🙂

    Sid, thanks. Will keep the Canon Powershot in my list.

    Thanks Amit!

    Arun: I must mention that I love some of the pictures that you’ve taken on your site. What sort of camera do you use? And thanks for all the information too.

    Thanks for the advice, Britt!

    Anupriyo: Sid’s mentioned the Canon Powershot A70. Would there be a big difference? All these As and Bs tend to confuse me. Will check out dbreview.com

    Matrix: Thanks! As I mentioned before, I do like the feel of browsing through photograph albums. It’s not quite the same thing browsing through an online album!

  14. well what can i say after all those expert comments but ignoramus moi would go for a digital camera. Cheers!!

  15. Anita, I use the Sony CyberShot Digi Cam, does the job for me, Infact i might add, its pretty awesome, its got a night vision, which is simple out of this world…:).

  16. I need an answer to that exact problem myself! 🙁 I have been breaking my head on it for quite some time.. The only problem is that I keep thinking and something turns up that just wipes out my bank balance and I start saving all over again, until I reach the moment when I go back to the choice 😛

    btw.. I read ur rediff diary postings.. lovely read those! ciao

  17. Hey Anita A Sony CyberShot Digi Cam is a good one.. i have used it.. The features are faboulous and will come to the neighbourhood of your budget.. and no hassles of going to the fotofast outlets.. It gives good enough pictures..even better than any good SLR if you are not a pro..or even an amateur.. i have a Canon and yet My fren’s Sony gives a similar pic anyday as I am not even an Amateur….

  18. If it is not professional photography, I vote digital camera.

    1. U can shoot 10 pic of the same scene and choose the one you like the best.

    2. Easier to send it to people around the globe

    3. Easy storage on a cd – I have boxes and boxes of prints I dont know what to do with.

    Just make sure you buy some extra memory and go for a decent pixel rating.

    I have a kodak and it even records small movies with sound… I find it the best value for the GBP200 I spent on it.

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  20. ram says

    I am planning to get a SLR film camera. first instrument i am buying. want to start with a standard (FM series maybe) and then much later upgrade. main idea is cause i am interested in photography and so planing to indulge in it. please advise. and no, i am no going in for a digital. strictly analog


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